No Tom Fest This Year And I’m Stir Crazy

Very very rarely do I ever lose my voice.  It occurred once last year and before that I can not remember the last time this happened:  8 years ago maybe?  But here I am, in Nashville, having cancelled a show (for the first time ever) as a result, and officially sitting on the edge of stir crazy.  It’s 2:43 a.m. as the clock reads.  My dog is also ill (is it possible I contracted this from her and am spreading an infectious pandemic strain of the Puppy-Flu around the United States of America?) and is curled into a ball near my feet.  She is the cutest dog of all time.  Even when she’s sick and has patches of hair which have been shorn from her at the veterinarian.

This time last year I was about to fly out to Portland, OR for Tom Fest and the very exciting West Coast/ Mid-west tour that followed.  It’s crazy to think I won’t be in the Northwest in August for the first time in… well, probably since the last time I lost my voice.  8 years.  Maybe longer?  How long have I been touring?  9 years?  10 years?

I have had quite a few requests that I should come out and visit anyhow and play some shows.  What am I waiting for?  I’m not sure.  I’m in this restless place where it doesn’t quite make sense for me to go out there right now.  And I have to trust my instinct.  It is always right.  But I have a thermometer sticking out there constantly.  And, as soon as I have peace about it… you can expect me in the northwest and hopefully California.  And hopefully very shortly because I miss it dearly.

I’m not sure how to describe it but there is something tangibly temporal about the place I’m in right now.  Like I’m shifting between realities.  And I believe that.  Excuse me for being vague and let me clarify.  I am in a cocoon of sorts at present.  I can feel it in everything I’m doing.  My eyes are opening to realities I did not understand last year and I am enlivening to old and new passions.  I’ve started sewing again, dancing, writing more, drawing, paying more attention to my physical environment, asking myself important questions that an artist HAS to sit down and ask every once and a while like, “What sacrifices am I willing to make for my art?” or “How can I get art to make me money and still provide enough time for me to focus on my passions?” or “Maybe I should give it all up and take up real estate.”  (The last question is more figurative that literal but it’s a question that you have to ask every once and a while – even though the answer is always – “I’d rather be 45 years old and live with my mom in her nursing home.”  It’s always good to evaluate “options.”  I mean can you imagine me as a real estate agent?   A perm, fake nails, and heavy make-up?  Neither can I.  No offense intended to real estate agents out there.)

My hope is that next year I will be asked to play Tom Fest in whatever form it takes and wherever it takes it.  I also hope to have a new bloody record out by then… PLEASE GOD!  It’s written… I’m just… WAITING.

And here we come to a crossroads.  I am positively stir crazy in this house right now (as I’ve been holed up for 5 days) and I’m artistically stir crazy as well (as tours excluded, let’s be honest – I haven’t released a full length album in 5 YEARS (there have been e.p.’s like crazy but…)).  It’s a terrible feeling.  Just as when I lose my voice there’s always the nagging fear that it may never return and what will I do if I am never able to utter a note or a word again I feel the same way about the new record.  It’s been written FOREVER.  I have another e.p. of material to tag behind it and in this town in particular I can not afford the studio time.  If you are an artist I am sure you can imagine my frustration.

It’s like I’m just sitting here twiddling my thumbs.  Waiting for my situation to change in just the right way.  Trying to put away money here and there to pay off a very minute amount of debt and also to pay for the new record.  But really, there must be a better way.  How did I get money when I was younger?  I didn’t.  The opportunities just came to me.  And also – I was living with my parents.

But even if I had the money things are still just not quite right.   Something just feels slightly off-balance.  So I am trying to be obedient to the rest.  Reading, writing, playing, playing shows, making art, being creative, talking about art, being an artist, loving art, experiencing art, and supporting art.  And WAITING.  And just not being sure what I’m waiting for?  What am I waiting for?

Well, at least I’m not waiting alone.


kat jones